Colorado Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act changed the way people access Colorado health insurance. Residents are now free to sign up for plans on the state-run marketplace, called Connect for Health Colorado. Additionally, Colorado expanded Medicaid coverage to close the gap for uninsured people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to qualify for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
According to a January 2014 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the steps Colorado took to close the coverage gap mean more than 67 percent of nonelderly adults now qualify for financial assistance either through the new health insurance marketplace or Medicaid. The report also detailed how many people would qualify for assistance.
- Forty-five percent of uninsured Colorado residents qualify for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Twenty-two percent of uninsured Colorado residents qualify to receive tax credits to offset premium costs for marketplace plans.
- Another 22 percent of uninsured Colorado residents qualify for marketplace plans with no subsidy.
What Is the Colorado health insurance marketplace?
The state marketplace is called Connect for Health Colorado, and during open enrollment, you can set up an account and answer questions about your family size and financial situation to determine whether you qualify for a subsidy or Medicaid. Typically, subsidies will be determined using 2013 federal poverty level limits, and Medicaid and CHIP eligibility will be determined using 2014 limits.
If you qualify for a marketplace health insurance plan, you will see a variety of options from private insurers. You can browse the plans and select one to join right from the Connect for Health Colorado website.
If you qualify for a subsidy, you will see a selection of plans with your adjusted premium, and some plans will have lower out-of-pocket costs than they would for people who do not qualify for a subsidy. If you find you now qualify for Medicaid, you will be directed to apply for that program.
Who qualifies for health insurance subsidies?
The Kaiser Family Foundation published a Colorado fact sheet in 2014 that explains who can qualify for premium subsidies, Medicaid and CHIP in Colorado.
- The Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to help offset the costs of insurance for people who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. This is between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four and between $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual.
- Children from families who earn less than 265 percent of the federal poverty level — about $63,200 for a family of four in 2014 — may qualify for CHIP. Adults who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level — about $16,105 for an individual in 2014 — qualify for Medicaid under new state rules.
Colorado residents who make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level can still purchase plans through the marketplace, but they typically won’t qualify for a subsidy.
Health insurers operating in Colorado
These are some major insurers offering major medical coverage on the Colorado marketplace.
- Anthem BlueCross BlueShield
- Kaiser Permanente CO
- Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Colorado health and coverage statistics
Colorado population (2013): 5,268,367
Population 65 and older (2012): 11.8 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 80.0 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 664,200
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 596,600
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 746,500
Overall state health ranking: 8
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Colorado health resources
Connect for Health Colorado: http://connectforhealthco.com/
Child Health Plan Plus: http://www.chpplus.org/
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/tag/colorado/